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Two teens found dead in Huntington Beach with empty can of Four Loko [Updated]

Two teens found dead in Huntington Beach with empty can of Four Loko

Police on Monday were investigating the deaths of two teenagers whose bodies were found in a vacant Huntington Beach apartment with an empty can of a caffeinated alcohol drink nearby.

Aaron Saenz, 15, of Westminster and Chelsea Taylor, 16, of Huntington Beach were found dead just after 10 a.m. Friday in the 15500 block of Huntington Village Lane, Orange County coroner's officials said.

Police found an empty can of Four Loko -- a sweet, caffeine-alcohol drink banned in some states because of health warnings -- in the apartment.

Huntington Beach Police Lt. Russell Reinhart said he believed the two died of drug- and alcohol-related causes, but the coroner’s office would not confirm this. The teens' autopsies were completed Monday, but further information was not released because the investigation was ongoing, said Mitchell Sigal, supervising deputy coroner for Orange County.

Apartment managers called police Friday after spotting the teens through an apartment window, but they did not know if the two were dead or alive, Reinhart said, according to the Hungtington Beach Independent.

The manufacturer of Four Loko, Phusion Projects, received a warning in November from the Food and Drug Administration that the product was unsafe, said Siobahn DeLancey, a spokeswoman for the federal agency.

Some states, including Utah, Michigan and New York, have banned the beverage, as have a number of college campuses across the country. It remains legal in California, Reinhart said.

[Corrected on Tuesday, 7:02 a.m.: A previous version of this post said the names of the victims were provided by Reinhart; they were provided by the Orange County coroner's office. It also reported that Reinhart said the two died of drug- and alcohol-related causes. Reinhart actually said he believed they died from those causes but that it wasn't definitive yet.] 


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Comments () | Archives (68)

Because its Alcohol and Caffeine. You want to ban Alcohol and Caffeine? You really want to ban mixed drinks? Is this not America?

i have dranken up to four of these and only woke up tummy ached and hung over... i dont believe one four loco can kill anyone... tho ive decided not to drink them there just not tasteful .....i believe these kids overdosed on drugs and mixed watever drug with half a four loco everyone knows you shouldnt mix drugs with alcohol

Don't worry - Steve Lopez is on the case!

A lot of you are missing the point of Pauls comment. Please stop taking it out of context of the article. The point is you cannot have an alcohol overdose with ONE (1) can of Four Loko. There are PLENTY more drinks out there with triple the alcohol content.

Tomorrows headline: "Man with terrible cholesterol has heart attack, Tylenol bottle in medicine cabinet"

It's sad that a such poor reporting makes it onto the LA Times. Four Loko was reformulated to not include caffeine after the FDA ban in November. This could be uncovered with about 5 minutes or less of Google surfing. Therefore these kids died only from alcohol poisoning (not really Four Loko's fault) or from a mix of alcohol and pills (again not Four Loko's fault). Could I have your job Nate Johnson? Doesn't seem too hard to see a report of teen deaths, take 10 minutes to write a piece (wrongly) implicating a popular beverage while getting the formulation facts wrong.

one 24 ounce can at 12% alcohol=less than one fifth of wine(also 12%) There were pills involved in these deaths, some sort of downers, Vicodin, Oxycontin,Seconol, Zanax.....couldn.t have been just alcohol..

Don't ask me how I know about this stuff!!!

Me, my brother and our friend just tried this stuff over the weekend and trust me, it is pretty Potent. Just half a can and you feel like you've had about 3 mixed drinks. Still dangerous to mix anything with alcohol, that's just begging for consequences. 4 Loko is strong but you buy that stuff as you do with any other alcohol, at your own risk.

There is NO POSSIBLE WAY that drinking a can of Four Loko would kill you unless you already have an incredibly serious medical condition, and in that case drinking a coffee or Red Bull would also kill you. What a load of crap. Two teenagers DIED here. Can you please make an attempt at some actual journalism? For their sake?

Everyone was screaming bloody murder that mixing caffeine and alcohol kills people, so they called for a ban on Four Loko. So the maker's of Four Loko finally gave in and reformulated the product so that it doesn't contain caffeine anymore. You can only buy it with NO caffeine now. So now they're STILL blaming Four Loko, even though it doesn't contain caffeine?! I guess that's admitting that mixing caffeine and alcohol never was a problem, they were just out to get Four Loko, and still are.

i know Aarons sister, dont say crap about them its not cool.

I'm curious if this would still have been reported if it was just an empty bottle of beer next to the bodies. This report is a pathetic attempt to smear Four Loko.

Chris, yep. It's just a shame they use the deaths of 2 teens as an excuse for their smear campaign. It's sickening.

Folks, LA times is not journalism. It is editorial and sensationalism.

well lets see? an alcholic bevrage didnt kill them, the report didn't even say they had it in their systems, im sure if the 4 locos weren't found next to them and they found a dirty diaper or something, im sure the press is gonna try and ban dippers. we need to legalize weed and unban e-cigs in new york . i love hope ppl arent stepping up and letting wealthy white people make decisions for you

Nothing can harm you if you dont use it in moderation, just because some people in this society dont know how to moderate and control there lives doesnt mean you should go banning and outlawing everything and anything that hurts them. Which is to blame, the abuser or alcohol which has been around since the world was created.

Thank you. Everyone who said Four Loko wasn't the problem. I've drank Four Lokos. I'm still alive. Of course, if I had a huge cocktail of other drugs, plus a Four Loko, I'm sure I'd have had problems. But Four Loko by itself isn't bad at all.

I've had two cans of that stuff, and I never died. Half a can won't even get you buzzed. So, there was something else that caused their deaths. Not the Four Loko.


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